Stimulus deal extends national deportation ban until January

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A bipartisan coronavirus relief deal that lawmakers signed on Sunday will extend the national reprieve moratorium until January and establish a $ 25 billion rental assistance fund.

The relief comes now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moratorium was set to expire at the end of the month. More than 14 million Americans – or 1 in 5 adult renters – recently said they haven’t caught up on their rent, according to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“This help is badly needed,” said Douglas Rice, senior policy analyst at The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “The CDC order has prevented a wave of evictions this fall, and the expansion will avert a major wave in January.”

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Heidi Breaux had no idea where she and her two daughters, Kayleigh, 13, and Kora, 10, would go if the national deportation ban expired on December 31.

She was left behind on her $ 750 rent after the pandemic cost her both of her jobs. The family lives in a mansion in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She recently got a job as a custodian at a church, but only earns $ 10 an hour. She owes her landlord about $ 4,000.

“We’d be homeless on the street,” said Breaux, 35. “I don’t even want to imagine it.”

Heidi Breaux and her two daughters, Kora, 10, and Kayleigh, 13

Courtesy: Heidi Breaux

The $ 25 billion in housing benefit is expected to be disbursed by state and local governments and can be used by tenants for arrears, as well as rent and utilities. To qualify, tenants will likely need to be on a low income.

That help could keep between 2 million and 8 million families in their homes for the next few months, Rice said. “This is a big step in the right direction, but it probably isn’t enough,” he added.

Emily Benfer, an eviction expert and visiting professor at Wake Forest University, said $ 100 billion is needed to cover the rent arrears.

“Make no mistake, the stool bill is an emergency measure,” Benfer said. “Without additional support, the deportation crisis will lead to catastrophe and endanger the health and safety of millions of adults and children.”

Indeed, researchers have found that expulsions exacerbate the spread of Covid.

Before the CDC approved a national deportation ban, 43 states issued their own suspension of proceedings. Still, many of the statewide bans were in effect for 10 weeks or less. North Dakota and Iowa have only halted the proceedings for about a month. (Meanwhile, seven states, including Ohio, Georgia and Wyoming, have never stopped the evictions.)

As many as 433,700 additional cases of the virus and 10,700 additional deaths were caused by states that lifted their deportation moratoriums between March and September, a recent study found.

“When you look at an infectious disease like Covid-19, evictions can affect not only the health of evicted families but the health of the wider community,” said Kathryn Leifheit, one of the authors and a postdoctoral researcher. the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.